The Platform

From a design perspective, Carrizo is the biggest departure to AMD’s APU line since the introduction of Bulldozer cores. While the underlying principle of two INT pipes and a shared FP pipe between dual schedulers is still present, the fundamental design behind the cores, the caches and the libraries have all changed. Part of this was covered at ISSCC, which we will also revisit here.

On a high level, Carrizo will be made at the 28nm node using a similar silicon tapered metal stack more akin to a GPU design rather than a CPU design. The new FP4 package will be used, but this will be shared with Carrizo-L, the new but currently unreleased lower-powered ‘Cat’ core based platform that will play in similar markets for lower cost systems. The two FP4 models are designed to be almost plug-and-play, simplifying designs for OEMs. All Carrizo APUs currently have four Excavator cores, more commonly referred to as a dual module design, and as a result the overall design will have 2MB of L2 cache.

Each Carrizo APU will feature AMD’s Graphics Core Next 1.2 architecture, listed above as 3rd Gen GCN, with up to 512 streaming processors in the top end design. Memory will still be dual channel, but at DDR3-2133. As noted in the previous slides where AMD tested on DDR3-1600, probing the memory power draw and seeing what OEMs decide to use an important aspect we wish to test. In terms of compute, AMD states that Carrizo is designed to meet the full HSA 1.0 specification as was released earlier this year. Barring any significant deviations in the specification, AMD expects Carrizo to be certified when the final version is ratified.

Carrizo integrates the southbridge/IO hub into the silicon design of the die itself, rather than a separate on package design. This brings the southbridge down from 40nm+ to 28nm, saving power and reducing long distance wires between the processor and the IO hub. This also allows the CPU to control the voltage and frequency of the southbridge more than before, offering further potential power saving improvements.  Carrizo will also support three displays, allowing for potentially interesting combinations when it comes to more office oriented products and docks. TrueAudio is also present, although the number of titles that support it is few and the quality of both audio codecs and laptop speakers leaves a lot to be desired. Hopefully we will see the TrueAudio DSP opened up in an SDK at some point, allowing more than just specific developers to work with it.

External graphics is supported by a PCIe 3.0 x8 interface, and the system relies on three main rails for voltage across the SoC which allows for separate voltage binning of each of the parts. AMD’s Secure Processor, with cryptography acceleration, secure boot and BitLocker support are all in the mix.

AMD Launches Carrizo: The Laptop Leap of Efficiency Efficiency and Die Area Savings
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  • yankeeDDL - Wednesday, June 3, 2015 - link

    If you think as gaming as hard-core gaming, latest and greatest titles, max settings, high res, then yes, I agree.
    But, as a father, I can tell you that there are tons of kids that are OK with "some" gaming and for whom the parents won't fork 1Kusd for a powerful gaming rig, and for which AMD really offers a price/performance ratio that cannot be compared.
  • FlushedBubblyJock - Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - link

    having kids in usa is down down down, so not so much biz there
  • barleyguy - Thursday, June 4, 2015 - link

    The marketing for this particular launch is specifically targeting players of MOBAs, such as League of Legends, DOTA2, and Starcraft. The active players of those 3 games is about 100 million people. You can argue that's not a majority of users, but AMD has never had a majority share of laptops, and 100 million people is a sizable market.

    I expect that AMD will make more direct appeals for that group of people, such as sponsoring tournaments, and generally trying to establish mindshare for laptops in that group.

    I don't think targeting that particular niche market is a bad idea, personally.
  • Refuge - Thursday, June 4, 2015 - link

    Their APU's can perform on those games very well, but also so can all of Intel's HD series graphics, at least every rendition I've ever seen.

    It won't be an easy crowd to win over. Even if the requirements for their sport only warrant a $300 computer, you know they are gamers and still want their supercomputers.
  • Magichands8 - Wednesday, June 3, 2015 - link

    I agree with this. But it also doesn't make sense to me why they have. CPU's have been commodity devices for some time now and it makes no sense to me whatsoever that the average consumer would buy Intel when they can transparently get the very same performance for their needs with a much cheaper AMD processor. This, plus the fact that AMD does so well with essentially embedded systems (XBox, Playstation) even though they are 'AMD Inside' suggests to me that their struggle is largely due to marketing failures rather than technological ones.
  • medi03 - Thursday, June 4, 2015 - link

    Athlon 64th were outsold by Intel's Prescott that was:
    a) slower
    b) consumed more power
    c) more expensive

    also because of "AMD's marketing failures" I guess...
  • FlushedBubblyJock - Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - link

    no it's the skin that surrounds the amd heart - and that skin is cheap and ugly - that's how amd plays their cards... a low class dirt bucket cheap compile - so even if it could be made to look great and "feel very expensive and well constructed" - those creating AMD skin WON'T DO IT.
  • FlushedBubblyJock - Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - link

    Thinking again I will admit when browsing new laptops in person AMD GAMING ! is not something I can ever recall seeing ... it's very tough sometimes just to get the basic specs visible by the box stores....
  • AS118 - Wednesday, June 3, 2015 - link

    I don't ind 1366 x 768 on a smaller screen (14" and less for me) and think that AMD's performance on 900p and below's great. I also think that it's sad that more people don't know about them and how capable they are.

    Many casual customers who would want that extra gaming performance don't even know it exists on A8's and A10's.
  • AS118 - Saturday, June 6, 2015 - link

    Yeah, I don't mind 1366 x 768 myself on smaller laptops, and gaming at that resolution is a thing with AMD APU's. Gaming performance on the A8 and especially A10 APU's is why I've been getting AMD Processors on Laptops for years.

    I don't need a lot of GPU oomph on my laptops, just needed the option to play casual games and not that hard to run stuff like WoW (well, before WoD at least) on the go.

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